Latest on the Blackhawks, Penguins, Capitals and Bruins.
Penguins still shopping for a scoring winger.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Dave Molinari reports Penguins GM Jim Rutherford remains unconcerned over not acquiring a top-six winger during the recent NHL Draft. Rutherford said he will continue to shop via trade or perhaps free agency to address that need.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Rob Rossi also reports only Rutherford really knows the winger he wants. “Maybe that winger is Oshie, who remained with St. Louis as of Saturday,” write Rossi. “Or perhaps Toronto’s Phil Kessel is the true target. Truthfully, Rutherford’s winger of choice could be either of those players or Chicago’s Patrick Sharp or Calgary’s Jiri Hudler or Carolina’s Jeff Skinner or Edmonton’s Nail Yakupov.” Rossi notes all those players have been linked to the Penguins this year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My guess is Sharp, Skinner and Oshie are Rutherford’s primary targets. Given Kessel’s big contract, I doubt there’s a fit there. I also believe Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli intends to stick with Yakupov and assess his performance in 2015-16.
Blackhawks have no timetable for salary-dumping deals.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Mark Lazerus reports Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman claims he has no timetable to make his expected salary-dumping deals. Their hope is they’ll have more leverage once teams strike out in the free-agent market. A source claims the ‘Hawks are willing to play the long game with Sharp, adding it’s possible (though unlikely) this saga could go on into training camp.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bowman demonstrated his patience last year, waiting until almost the start of the regular season before trading Nick Leddy to the New York Islanders in a cost-cutting deal. However, I expect he’ll move more quickly on a Sharp trade, perhaps within the next two weeks after the UFA market is picked clean.
Updates on the Capitals and Bruins.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley reports Capitals GM Brian MacLellan still believes the trade market, rather than free agency, is the best way this summer to upgrade his roster. Gormley lists Chicago’s Patrick Sharp, Vancouver’s Radim Vrbata and St. Louis’ T.J. Oshie as possible options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals lack a first-line right wing. Of these, Oshie could be the best fit, but the Blues will want a good player in return as they wish to shake up, not rebuild, their core. The Canucks could peddle Vrbata if they’re unable to shed defenseman Kevin Bieksa via trade. The Capitals and Blackhawks discussed a possible Sharp deal before the trade deadline. They might revisit those discussions this week.
TSN’s Darren Dreger recently reported the following via Twitter: “Any speculation of the Bruins potentially trading Tuukka Rask should stop. Don Sweeney says emphatically he’s not trading him. No surprise.”